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Recently published articles by Dave G:
Slowly getting my brain to function after the loss of my dad and put up new V-Ray Tuner version with some features:
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One of the tricks I learned as a photo retoucher back in my university days was that, if you wanted to tile a texture or extend a background, the fastest way is to duplicate the layer and then flip it. When you align the edges, there will be a match at the edges, which is usually easier to clean up than a messy clone job. Well, Maya’s texture nodes let you mirror your U or V texture so that this is done for you without having to head to Photoshop. For something like a plywood reference texture, it works really well:
Obviously, that seam is going to be a little obvious but I am using it as a painting reference, so I don’t need to clean it up. Other textures may be less obvious when mirrored.
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It’s almost midnight so, naturally, I’m writing rendering tips. If you use the V-Ray framebuffer – which you should because it’s awesome – you know that the Maya render window will pop up at the same time as the VFB when you start renders. Every. Time. Unless you have the render window open in a pane, there is no way to avoid this until V-Ray 3.0 comes out (it apparently fixes this issue). BUT I have a good workaround that will prevent this madness from occurring again: dock the render window. Open the render window and run this MEL script:
dockControl -area right -content renderViewWindow rendEditorDC;
And you get this magic:
This only works in Maya 2011 and above since earlier versions don’t have the docked Qt interface.
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A while back, I wrote a post about fixing Z-fighting in Maya for viewport 1 and while the same fix is still needed for viewport 2, the newer viewport also suffers from unculled edges that bleed around the object. I work in pseudo-orthographic/long focal length views a lot so the fix – increase the camera’s near-clipping value – needs to be much higher for viewport 2 to address the edge problem:
Hopefully that will save you from being distracted by those weird edges.
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I’m relatively new to SSS shaders in V-Ray since I have only been using it for a few years and haven’t needed to do much character-oriented 3D work. So I’m pleased with the results from this one. It’s a model from a previous project and will be for sale on Turbosquid if you want to buy it for a project. Fully rigged and flawless rendering in V-Ray for Maya and Max.
Here is a link to purchase it on Turbosquid. Palmolive sold separately.
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If you tweak cage meshes in Maya that are to be subdivided and displaced, you end up worried about a couple things: what will happen to your seams when you do that tweak and what is the displacement going to do when applied to your tweak? As I mentioned in an earlier post, you can do a polygonal displacement preview but sometimes it is sufficient to just preview the displacement on your cage mesh in Maya. So I wrote a script that will be part of the next version of V-Ray Tuner that makes a temporary surface shader and applies the displacement map for the currently selected mesh as the diffuse colour. If you run it again, it switches back to the original shader and deletes the temp surface shader – no crap left around.
One nice feature of this script is that it uses the same file node as your material so even if you change the link to a new file you might have touched up, it will update the original shader’s displacement file node even though you are previewing the surface shader. I hope you find it useful.
Grab the script here. It works with all renderers.
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Sometimes you want to see a texture as unlit to check seams and stuff but viewport 2, which use as the default viewport now, has no “unlit texture” mode. But there’s a workaround – use a temporary ambient light:
When you start tweaking a cage mesh that has a displacement texture in Maya, it gets really tricky to predict what is going to happen when the displacement kicks in after you’ve edited the base mesh. Luckily Maya has a displacement to polygons filter in the Modify/Convert menu that facilitates these edits. Duplicate and smooth your base mesh and then apply the filter and you’ll get an idea of what your tessellated and displaced mesh looks like at render time. It isn’t perfect since it doesn’t smooth UVs but it gives a pretty accurate rendition:
I’m using a simple script that I’ll be adding to V-Ray Tuner but it works with any renderer. Here it is:
string $meshy = `duplicate -rr`;
move -r 0 0 -10;
polyPerformAction "polySmooth -mth 0 -dv 1 -c 1 -kb 1 -ksb 1 -khe 0 -kt 1 -kmb 1 -suv 1 -sl 1 -dpe 1 -ps 0.1 -ro 1" f 0;
You’ll probably notice that my displacement is not following the 1 gain / -0.5 offset alpha settings. I have tweaked it manually so these settings have changed.
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So I am working on something that needs some tricky UV and vertex tweaks and, if you’re a V-Ray user, you probably know that viewport 2 is fast but V-Ray’s default baked previews in Maya are really low res – I don’t even think that 64x64 pixels qualifies as “low res,” it’s so bad. Luckily, after getting in touch with Chaos Group about it, they let me know that there is a workaround to get high res previews. Jack up the resolution in viewport 2’s “Bake Resolution for Unsupported Texture Types” setting, save and reload the scene and you’ll have a high res preview:
Thanks again to Chaos Group for the exceptional support. After years of struggling with all the problems and dearth of support for mental ray, it’s so refreshing to have such good support in V-Ray. They never cease to impress me.
The latest version of V-Ray Tuner is out now. 3.5 includes some